Shelly Miscavige Why She Stays

Free_Your_MindTony Ortega continues on a roll of excellent reporting on the Leah Remini story, and again this morning has another very worthwhile piece. Whatever you may think of his personal views of Scientology (which after all, he IS entitled to), you have to admire his courage, his persistence and the network of sources he has built up over many years who feel he is a safe and reliable outlet for their information. He also writes clearly and well and takes the time to explain and include information to make understandable what can often be an impossibly arcane and confusing subject to the uninitiated.

His reporting this morning on Shelly Miscavige should be read by anyone interested in Scientology.

It is most fortunate that Tony has been providing such good reading as I have been otherwise occupied over the past couple of days, but should be back to normal tomorrow.

One additional note about the situation with Shelly.

It is highly unlikely after this amount of time that even if someone could talk to her that she would say she wants to leave. Typical for this situation, she has been indoctrinated since early childhood to believe that whatever circumstances she finds herself in are HER DOING. That she is responsible for being sent away to live in purgatory for years, and that only when SHE has resolved HER own transgressions will all be well. And of course, part of that in her mind is convincing herself she no longer wants to leave — it is the first step “I must be getting my overts off as I no longer want to leave.”

This question — why do people stay in the Sea Org/church even though they are abused and treated like emaciated cattle is one of the hardest things to explain to those who have not been there. I tried to cover this in a response to a question on Marty Rathbun’s blog in February 2012. I reprint it here as I think it helps explain the mindset:

 This is a really difficult subject to explain. I look back and wonder why I stayed as long as I did. And I have given this a lot of thought, and I am sure there are a lot of scholarly and learned treatises that would explain this phenomena. I have only analyzed this for myself and what I have seen or heard with others.

I believe there is a “perfect storm” of factors in the RCS [Radical Church of Scientology], and though I am certain many of these things are not unique to the RCS, I believe its hard to find anything that has ALL of these things acting in concert. And to one degree or another, I believe each of these apply to everyone involved in the RCS (SO, staff and public).

1. You feel an obligation to not violate your personal integrity by withdrawing allegiance from a group you have committed to. And the flip side of that coin, you are heavily invested in something (whether financially or emotionally or both) and to walk away from it requires admitting you were wrong/stupid/duped.

2. You don’t want to let others down. People who have relied on you, supported you, looked up to you. You value their friendship and don’t want to upset them.

3. You believe that to forsake the RCS and Miscavology is to abandon your eternity as there is no other “brand” of Scientology, everything else is pure squirrel suppressiveness which will drive you into a state of black MEST (meanwhile, this is the object of the reverse Scientology being run in the RCS). Even the idea of “abandoning your eternity” is contrary to fundamental Scientology principles – its an impossibility.

4. You have to walk away from your family, friends or business associates. The level of trauma associated with this depends on the degree of immersion in the “Scientology bubble.” Sea Org members often have to decide to leave a spouse and/or children. They normally have no college degree and no resume and no money. Many public Scientologists also have family who will disconnect or they will lose their jobs or their customers.

5. It is hammered into you that whatever condition you find yourself in — YOU “pulled it in” — whether it is being beaten and tortured or bankrupted by heavy pressure regging. It is always what YOU did and the organization/Miscavige is NEVER wrong. Then to “blow” only proves it further — its YOUR O/Ws. This mindset is cemented with the “sec checking” that has become routine operating procedure in the RCS. Think a critical thought about anything and you will pay (literally or figuratively or both) with a sec check that doesnt conclude until you find some O/W (real or imagined) that makes YOU responsible.

6. The thought that whatever injustice/abuse/difficulty/hardship you may be experiencing, it is “nothing” in the overall scheme of things. a) You have no doubt experienced worse on the whole track, so why get upset? b) physical pain and duress don’t damage you spiritually so what’s the big deal and c) the biggest one of all “the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics” (as long as Dynamic 3 counts as 8 and the other 7 are one each) — “Scientology is expanding and clearing the planet, so there are some outnesses, they are small in comparison to all the good that is being done.”

7. Finally, I believe the vast majority of Scientologists are optimistic and think to themselves, “tomorrow will be another day and things will be better.” Unreal but true.

Maybe others have thoughts on this, but that is what I have concluded.



  1. XClassVStaff says

    Really well-stated, Mike!
    This describes much of my own thought process at different times when undergoing high punishment situations and looking at maybe, possibly *gasp* leaving.
    Since there are seeds of truth in many of those considerations, e.g. being responsible for you own conditions and knowing that overts can bring about motivators. After all, most of us who stayed in the RCS any length of time experienced gains from coughing up overts. So we have anecdotal personal evidence that it worked. And if you were an auditor/sup/ethics officer, you saw this work for others as well. So you can’t just dismiss the idea that you are being blinded by the horrific deeds you must have committed against the Church, Miscavige, LRH, the execs of your org, etc, etc.
    You just keep talking yourself into sticking it out, making it go right, and setting a good example for all the public and staff you care about.
    What a trap!

  2. Roy Macgregor says

    Well written Mike. Your “perfect storm” analogy is very correct. Mormons and Amish have disconnection and they have a rigid dogma but they do not have the philosophy that “everything that happens to you is your fault”. They also do not have the “you have lived and died before so whatever is happening to you now is nothing”.

    I think that there is another factor that makes this hard which is the “senior scientologists would never lie”. This is very ingrained, so people then believe all the lies about expansion they are told. I think that this one thing is the hardest to get past – it is against everything in Scientology to lie- yet the upper executives of Scientology lie constantly and routinely and David Miscavige tells huge whopping lies at events. When Scientologists come to the realization that there are some lies being told, it suddenly shifts things around tremendously. Many Scientologists see huge problems in the religion but they cannot conceive that all the expansion” they hear about is just a river of lies. So if there is tons of expansion – who cares about a few beatings really? It’s wrong but not worth shutting down management over. But beatings, grossly altering the application of the religion etc, all resulting in catastrophic failure of churchs all over the world that is DEFINITELY worth shutting now management and starting afresh. I am sure that Shelly does not realize how much contraction has occurred in Scientology since she was assigned to CST. I bet that if she could access org stats those chains would start snapping really quickly. To my knowledge, there is no-one in the world who has access to long term stat graphs. All the stats are kept on highly secure computers, and unless you are an Int exec you can only see the last few months. You cannot view stat graphs over years. Since all the Int Execs are off post, that means that the only people who would have the authorization to see the long term stats are RTC. They are certainly not going to mention what they are seeing to anyone. Anyhow, I think this is a big part of the picture and why people hang on – not only that tomorrow will be a better day, but also that everything is fine everywhere else, its just ME thats having a problem. The thing about holding something together this way is that if the truth starts to spread the whole house of cards will go down very quickly. I know it won’t happen, but if someone just printed off all the long terms stats and made them broadly available, DM would be out on his ear in about 10 seconds flat. Of all the people who could save Scientology probably some geeky computer nerd working at INCOMM (Scientology’s computer division) could make the biggest impact.

    • Jane Doe says

      Excellent analysis Rory! Let’s hope some geeky neerd at INCOMM reads your post and starts looking.

    • Rick Mycroft says

      Second place for damage to DM would be one of the security people walking out with choice footage from the security cameras transferred to their iPod. (Say, DM having one of his violent moments, or the inside of the current Hole.)

      I’m postulating that there are cameras. I can’t see a paranoid organization like RCS without them. But who watches the watchers?

    • Richard Kaminski says

      Rhine, the short answer is apparently, no. Tony O’s story is built from:
      “We can now say that we have received new confirmation that Shelly Miscavige is living and working at Scientology’s super-secret CST headquarters near Lake Arrowhead in the mountains above Los Angeles, where she has been the entire time since she was sent there in late 2005 or early 2006.

      We’re told that attempts to have Shelly visit her family have been futile, and when she was asked recently when she might see her family again, she answered, “There’s only one way,” with no further explanation.”

      That is all there is. Not enough for me, especially as we know the nature of Miscavige’s mind, the people he surrounds himself with, and of course, OSA. False reporting, bait and switch, smoke and mirrors, coercion, dirty tricks, bullying, no remorse for the wreckage made of people’s lives, gagging orders, broken, penniless, homeless SO slaves, open contempt for sickness and ill-health, secrecy, covert surveillance and overt harassment, manipulation of the internet and distortion of posted facts, hate sites, and so on. Balance that with the CoS contribution to the good of society. No balance that I can see, their motives are plainly ulterior. In other words, don’t expect any honesty escaping from their mouths.

      So Tony O can positively verify the living person of Shelly Miscavige? Nope, only by indirect ‘information received.’ I think it’s somehow lucky that of all people, he was the one gifted this information.

      I have nothing against Tony O, he does a fine job, as far as it goes.

      • threefeetback says

        Shelly: “Only One Way” : If the DeMon is taken out before she goes down. It was not uncommon for her to be at the Base without the DeMon during the IRS war days, the Time Magazine fiasco, etc.

    • Jane Doe says

      Aren’t there any family members who could be persuaded to file a missing person’s report?

  3. Silvia says

    Thank you Mike, here are my viewpoints of why one may not have left earlier (some concur with yours)
    -The purpose of helping others, with finally and available applied philosophy that changed lives, could be very strong and comes along with what you said-leaving those than were there needing, wanting and accepting an honest help. That purpose carried us on longer that we may have wanted.
    -Lets not forget the impact of real suppression- one gets dispersed, confused, overwhelmed at times, mistakes do get made and so forth.
    -The infamous disconnection Policy where you are confronted with leaving behind friends, family and friends just because you finally did not agree with the amount of out tech given to the many that hoped to change their lives with it.
    -Out tech in itself has messed up cases to an unbelievable degree. Instead of going up tone, you go way down and act according to the lower tone level you hit-lies, treachery, 1.1 actions and so on.
    Leaving friends, family, your pcs, your comrades for years may top the chart though.
    There may be other viewpoints and experiences. Will be good for others to share theirs.
    But at the end, us who have left finally had the courage to tell “NO MORE, THAT IS IT” to the suppressive actions of the Devil Moron. That takes courage and truth, and at the end that is what counts.
    His lies can not continue forever, that is a fact. So, lets keep going with what we are doing as many, many are wining with proper technology delivered to them and achieving changes for the better.

    • Peter says

      Stalin’s lies continued long after he died. Once one is out, it eeems that Truth MUST get through and then everything will be just hunky dory. ‘T’ain’t so, McGee! (I’m showing age…an oft repeated line from the famous old Fibber McGee & Molly radio show.

    • Greta Alexander says

      Right on Silvia,
      That’s really what counts. Carrying on the torch with the Tech that we know works.

  4. Jose Chung says

    Dear Mike,
    “Perfect Storm ” is perfect a definition of circumstance that describes the scene.
    I read your steps that lead up to this a while back and agree fully.
    Possibly the best people who could also verify that what you say is true is “Jim Jones” Peoples Temple congregation which unfortunately are all in a Mass Grave in Oakland California.
    Something Can Be Done.

  5. says

    This is just housekeeping and I’m sure OSA reads all your posts anyway but I am assured that they search daily for L. Ron Hubbard, David Miscavige, Church of Scientology and so on, using their proper names rather than nicknames that exes, Indies and anons might use and laugh at. You will annoy them much more if you start using their proper names. It also shows of course that you’re not afraid to use their real names.

    • Gus Cox says

      I always refer to He Who Must Not Be Named as Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center Mr. David Miscavige once in my posts, just to make sure those cocksuckers on Hollywood Boulevard catch them :-)

    • sarah says

      I do think you make a good point. However, I have heard David Miscavige called tiny fists and it does seen to fit his mo.

  6. Mantis says

    This rings so true. Since leaving myself I have spoken to dozens of people. What I find so striking is that every one has terrible difficulty articulating “why I stayed”. Once you’re separated from the madness the outpoints loom large and obvious and from this new perspective the old one is so perplexing. So perplexing that you can’t coherently state why you felt bound to stay. Amazing stuff. After being unhappy on staff for about two years I sat in my office one day and had a realisation. It was so stark it felt like an epiphany. “I can leave!” It was the first time in my very long staff career that I allowed myself the thought and it was wonderfully beautiful. “I.CAN.leave.” Wow. And so I did.

    • Jane Doe says

      Mantis, I’m so glad you got out! Have a wonderful life moving on up a little higher and higher.

  7. TheWidowDenk says

    I love your article Mike! While I can see how all your points come into play, I had a different perspective as non-SO staff. The main difference was that I didn’t have to deal with a lot of interference on my post. I’d held it for so long, I’d been the “go-to-person.” When the shit hit the fan in 2004, and I was escorted off post and out of ASI, my main concern was for the staff and public with whom I had dealt for many years. I was a stable administrator and I ran the area in present time with very few unhandled cycles. I even worked from home when necessary to keep the activity running smoothly. What a well-oiled machine Writers of the Future was! Who was going to effectively run it in my absence? There wasn’t a person in sight who could do so. It would definitely have worked out better on an apprenticeship basis and that apprenticeship should have run for at least one year. My other concern was for product. I had seen a belligerent, out spoken, angry entrant turn into the most warm, happy, gentleman upon being informed he had won (I’ll state this as de-PTSing for my Scn friends) the contest. What a joy to behold! Who in the world was going to sit quietly and listen while all this cogniting occurred? To conclude, my extreme reluctance in “moving on” was out of concern for the staff and public of the activity to which I had devoted twelve years. Rachel

  8. OT Friend says

    I think there is another factor as to why people stay, and that is that the Church is set up to prey on people’s weaknesses. I do think that originally this was done with the intention to help, but over the years it has morphed into “do your next step or die.” The Dissem formula provides reg’s, FSM, DofPs, etc with your ruin, the thing that they can exploit to keep you in. It’s always the next step that will handle it. Be it health, wealth, 2D, family, etc., your ruin is known and used against you. The most successful FSMs are those that manipulate their selectees by pushing the button of that ruin. And the reg’s – how many people have sat down in front of a reg to be told that if they did not do their next step, they might die. I know for a fact that the Flag Office is LA is famous – infamous – for that!
    So, you have people who know they need help, they reveal their biggest fear/worry/ruin, and then are told over and over and over that Scn is the only place that can address that ruin – on their next step. Meanwhile, that ruin is made more and more solid by the constant validation of its beingness. No wonder the sheeple can’t leave.

    • Jane Doe says

      “So, you have people who know they need help, they reveal their biggest fear/worry/ruin, and then are told over and over and over that Scn is the only place that can address that ruin – on their next step. Meanwhile, that ruin is made more and more solid by the constant validation of its beingness. No wonder the sheeple can’t leave.” OT Friend, I have experienced exactly what you expressed so well here. I was told by a registrar that if I didn’t get to Flag to handle the ruin, that I would die. And by “handle” they meant buy lots of auditing. Funny how the handle is never, read this reference, or do this condition. No, that would be too easy, but more importantly, it doesn’t bring big bucks in the door.


  9. jennifer sanders says

    Thank you. There are so many sticky spots, nearly invisible spider webs, felt yet unseen holding down your forward motions. I recall feeling AWOL for a LONG time before I ever learned there were Indies out here. It served as a giant missed withhold that I wasn’t able to be part of my own group anymore. Early on the KTL delivery at Flag, I watched a “dressing down” in the Coachman Bldg. Mind you I was just off the clay table and truly falling in LOVE and in comm with the universe at large. (thank you Ron!) So out in the hall some SO inspector hasn’t gotten the answers he wanted and he’s spewing forth Mount Vesuvius? at the top of his lungs. No one can hear anything BUT his horrific disgust and threats to the staff who didn’t measure up.
    That was the first in a way too long list of little teeny outpoints that I continued to justify, rationalize and look past. And those little seeds of truth buried in amongst the weeds of reality kept me from ripping it all out and starting anew. It may seem silly to all who have so much more hatting than I do, but I’d like to share a tip that has helped me. I’ve read and reread a very basic book called the Thinking Book. It has helped me to sort and dissect things when I feel slow and confused. I know it is from the data series and I hope it’s unaltered, for me it’s a good gradient and very useful. This and so many other sites are proof of all the agreement amongst us as to the help and wins from standard tech. NO ONE can take that away. KRC

    • sophia13 says

      KTL clay table processing – I remember being too full of joy to sleep. I felt so alive. It was amazing. The ecstasy couldn’t last, though. I had to deal with the agony of being on staff at a Class V org that was being hammered into non-existence by nefarious actions of the SO.

  10. Sinar says

    I agree with all your points, Mike. It is very well written. I suppose the closest to describe it would be the battered wife syndrome.

    • AnyOldName says

      Thank you for articulating the reasons you stayed as long as you did. For myself, like other “never ins”, it is sometimes difficult to understand. I agree with you, initially Shelly will respond that she doesn’t want to leave. Unlike Katie Holmes, who was a public that knew freedom and another way of life, Shelly has a lifetime in Co$.

      I’m glad Sinar mentioned Domestic Abuse. After reading your points, my mind went back 30 years to when I was a wet behind the ears college kid volunteering at a women’s shelter. We (the public) did not understand about domestic abuse like we do today. Often the abused spouse was blamed b/c “she went back”, “she won’t press charges”, etc. Somehow it was her fault for the abuse continuing. For many of those women they knew nothing else. Some had been abused as children and that was the life they knew. One of the counselors explained that the abuse starts as “verbal” and “mental” as a way to control. Eventually, the women would believe that they “asked for it”, it was their fault this was happening, “I made him mad”, “if only I had _____ he wouldn’t have beat the crap out of me”. They came to believe they were worthless and totally dependent on the abuser. Of course, the abuser controlled the money & access to resources….. Basically, the women had convinced themselves they had “pulled it in”.

      I’ve often wondered if the reason SO & staff weren’t paid or paid pennies wasn’t a way to control more than just a case of being broke? Keep everyone dependent on the “master” (DM) by controlling the resources ($$$). When you really look at much of what goes on – isn’t all really about “control”? Such controlling behavior from the top down. When Miscavige tried to “control” the internet (the TC videos) – he spawned Anonymous. Tom’s controlling behavior led to Katie’s escape. They “pulled in” their own “overts”.


    • Indie8Million says

      Thank you, Sinar!!
      I have been reading everyone’s comments and have been thinking that the whole time! “It’s just like Battered Wife/Woman Syndrome!” Everybody knows a woman like this. The husband either physically beats her (for his own jollies or to control her every move, much like beating a dog in training it) and/or emotionally degrading or belittling her so, in effect, making her nothing. Again, making her nothing. What is the definition of invalidation anyway? To make INVALID.
      Yet, she keeps going back, no matter what provisions her friends make for her, no matter the offers to take her and her kids in to get her away from him.
      There is a lot of research into this. Mike mentioned that there might be learned people who have studied this and I believe, if you look into this BWS, a person might find a lot of right indications. Men and women.
      From Wiki, here are the general symptoms.
      When Battered Person Syndrome (BPS) manifests as PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or depression), it consists of the following symptoms: (a) re-experiencing the battering as if it were recurring even when it is not, (b) attempts to avoid the psychological impact of battering by avoiding activities, people, and emotions, (c) hyperarousal or hypervigilance, (d) disrupted interpersonal relationships, (e) body image distortion or other somatic concerns, and (f) sexuality and intimacy issues.[6]
      Additionally, repeated cycles of violence and reconciliation can result in the following beliefs and attitudes:[7]
      The abused thinks that the violence was his or her fault.
      The abused has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere.
      The abused fears for his/her life and/or the lives of his/her children (if present).
      The abused has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient.”
      Funny that it’s called “PTSD” PTS to DM, in this case. :)
      One other thing that happens is that the woman is terrified of leaving. “If he’s this mean and nasty about controlling how I clean the floor, imagine the explosions if I actually leave him.”
      A very good film to watch about this is a Julia Roberts film called, “Sleeping with the Enemy.” It shows not only the controlling insanity of the abuser but the charm he uses in the beginning to make himself look like the woman was lucky enough to win the man lottery and at certain key points to keep the fish on the hook a little longer.
      Good luck to everyone on their continued decompression from this thing called “Scientology” that used to be fun and full of love. I’m happy to find new comrades who are helping the Phoenix rise from the ashes and looking forward to continuing to help people for real. – with the real Scientology that works.

  11. Jonsty says

    First, let me say that I agree with what you say here…all your points. Second, let me add that I made many gains with SCN. Third, it is not my intention to trash LRH or SCN.


    I witnessed it with a couple alcoholics, a sociopath relative, and a couple psychotic execs in SCN, and I still have a hard to accepting or believing it, and so did all around me. Even when confronted with the lies, these people would say, “nope not me,” or they would just walk away. Maybe it is similar to the idea of “confronting evil as the most difficult confront,” but to me it is different. We all have stretched the truth, but to just blatantly lie is almost inconceivable to good people. In time, with all those examples above I witnessed in my own life, once the lies were exposed, I ended up just in complete gawk-jawed disbelief…HOW CAN THEY DO THAT?!?!?!? It is still hard for me to confront.

    LRH did many great things, but he did not have it all taped to TOTAL FREEDOM. He did not have the whole clearing situation sorted out either. He should have told everyone it was still being researched…but no, he lied. Did he believe the lies? Quite possibly, but I am not here to argue that.

    When I first read KSW 1, I thought, “Either it is all figured out, or, this guy is a completely out of his gourd to say he is the only one who has ever made it and that he alone had the answers to spiritual freedom.” I chose to believe he was truly unique in how he had made it…how else could he make those assertions?

    Again, I am not here to say that SCN is all bad, as it has so much good to it too. I am only pointing out that lying and false assertions, when stated with 100% certainty and bravado are hard to counter. I have always asked, “would I or my dear friends make such assertions?” the answer is “no.” And if any of us did, we would clearly come back and apologize when we saw what we had done.

    • Hallie Jane says

      Excellent point Jonsty! I think the plus points are many amongst Scngsts as to why they stayed. It’s such a social personality trait, or a trait of decency, to not expect that someone is bold faced lying or just cares about money. It never occurred to me that DM would dismantle Scn and when it hit me, I was shocked. Look at all the cool, high toned attributes of all these selfless, persistant, generous beings. What a fabulous bunch of people! I know I stayed because I felt the tech was valuable, and that the human race would benefit by basically good beings, relieved of their baggage. There are all sorts of shenanegans and assholes in the world and we don’t just drop everything because one shows up. I know I was trying to help, to work hard, to establish a movement that could add sanity and to be stable for others. I’ve noticed reverse auditing focuses on out points, on the “wrongness” of the being instead of rightness. The sec checks are especially pernicious. This insidious unmock causes hyper attention on outpoints and self criticism. Don’t buy into it, validate yourselves. I’d like to see people make a list of theta reasons why they stayed, if they can and be proud!

  12. says


    I think it is so hard to nail down because each person has their own individual reasons for staying or leaving.

    Sea Org members tend to be more at the mercy of economics than the average public or staff.

    They get berthing and food, particularly the latter makes it difficult to bite the hand that feeds them.

    It is a monastical relationship.

    The above makes it difficult, if not almost suicidal unless they have an exit strategy of some kind, to leave.

    Many don’t even have a bank account or drivers license or passports or even a SSN or any of the things required by current society.

    Others are working there as Religious Workers under B1 visas so if they leave they are really screwed because they can’t get work legally.

    Aside from that there are many who because they are either untrained or poorly trained in the philosophy believe that things are the way they are supposed to be.

    Then of course there are the robotic types covered in the HCOB ‘Robotism’ who just follow orders and following orders is their stable datum no matter how outrageous these orders are.

  13. Richard Lloyd-Roberts says

    I wholeheartedly agree. When I left the SO the pressure to stay and not abandon the “only ones that have the tech to do something about it” and the emotional blackmail that is used against you is insane. I was told to divorce my then wife etc etc I decided that if I didn’t go then I would never get out so used every thing I could to make it happen. Of course I let the entirety of mankind down when I did so…
    Problem is if its so good why do people want to leave and then why is your attention so stuck on it after you go.

  14. Jethro Bodine says

    I tend to agree that there isn’t one simple explanation to mind control, especially the level of mind control that occurs in the Sea Org. Having been in it myself, I can understand the various reasons a person may have for not wanting to leave. I think for everybody there is some sort of “last straw” that occurs that causes us to wake up and leave, and it takes many years after leaving to fully decompress and realize that perhaps I really was a bit of a brainwashed cult member, which was a really tough thing for me to acknowledge.

  15. The Oracle says

    The outpoint in all of these disconnections, is that the people being declared are not antagonistic to Scientology or Scientologists or L. Ron Hubbard. They are antagonistic to David Miscavige. There is NO place in Church policy that states Scientologists who are antagonistic to David Miscavige are to be declared or disconnected from. This is a massive alter is and application. That people who are on lines do not even see this, is evidence of how PTS they are.

    Kirstie’s twitters caused trouble. She has become an actual trouble source, while disconnecting from someone who isn’t even technically guilty of a suppressive act! This is how ass backwards the herd has been driven!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh the sheep herders and their magical influences!!!!!!!!!

  16. Wendy Munro says

    Mike I completely get your points 1 – 7 and admire you (and all the others who stayed, long or short) all the more for it. It is the most unselfish thing to do, working for others for nothing, for years. It was not all madness, and not all a waste – not by a long shot (as Rachel and others also described here). There were a lot of good points – sadly disappearing down the rabbit hole now. Some people chase the dollar their whole life, and little else serves as a purpose. What a waste. And then they question your motives. Hah! Most ex SO and ex staff that I know and have come to know on the blogs are the most honourable people that I know.

  17. Rod Keller says

    That’s a pretty good list of why people don’t leave Scientology, or any other cult. I would add:

    1) “Loaded language” to use Lifton’s term. Nobody outside the group understands what you’re talking about, overt this, 2D that, ideal scene. Mike, you dealt a lot with the public and press, and I think managed not to use Scientology words in order to not look like a loony on TV. Other Scientologists have had the opposite training and may (rightly) fear that nobody on the outside will understand them.

    2) This one is from Janja Lalich and Michael Langone. Janja was in a cult where they were severely sleep deprived. Overwork and lack of sleep is a powerful way to keep people from leaving a cult. It can be just too much effort to do the cult work AND the escape work.

    • Gus Cox says

      Yeah, “I just crossflowed some enemy line from a couple of CC publics, so I KR’d them to CO CCI.”

      I speak fluent Scientologese. I had to work at coming up with normal English phrases for quite some time after I left.

      • Rod Keller says

        I keep on bringing up comparable cults for a reason, and that is that this is a common element to most of them. Imagine somebody trying to live in the real world who talks like this.

        Father dedicated himself with an unwavering heart of filial piety to fulfill this Providential Will and thereby to liberate God’s heart. He sought to offer God the substantial settlement of True Parents and True Family on earth as the victorious foundation for eternal peace, as expressed in the title of the first Peace Message “God’s Ideal Family and the Kingdom of the Peaceful Ideal World.” At the same time, through the Blessed Central Families and Ambassadors for Peace, Father worked to unite the worldwide Cain and Abel realms in order to secure the opening of the Kingdom of the Peaceful Ideal World where God’s substantial sovereignty is established, in other words Cheon Il Guk.

  18. Jon says

    Mike as you were at one time the spokesperson for them I would believe you have nailed most all of the salient points as to why these souls/people lose their way.

    If osa is reading 1 866 EX SEA ORG is a way out they will help you.

    I also feel it is worth noting that Mike has a personal stake in this having family members still in. While I do look forward toward your postings on a daily basis.
    I think whatever the faith of the readers here we might consider to send out a prayer or thought. That things will turn out well for Mike and his nightmare may some day end.

    • Indie8Million says

      OMG! There’s a NUMBER!! I’ve been thinking about this for months!! Getting a number that is so easy to remember that a person could see it once, remember it and call when they have that ONE MOMENT to make that call! BRAVO!
      Now, those of you who have connections to Anonymous, can you please ask them to have at least one or two placards with that number clearly on it at each protest? Please? How about a flyer campaign around the orgs? Can those of you who do television/radio interviews mention this to the press? Can Tony Ortega put this at the bottom of every one of his articles?
      Skywriting anyone? Seriously. Discuss.

  19. Afquamarine says

    Mike, thank you for this helpful and as usual beautifully communicated article, and your picture up there also clearly demonstrates this particular type of entrapment LRH states this in a number of his works: a being (thetan) cannot be trapped without his own permission and cooperation. His body can be physically trapped but unless he agrees and cooperates, his mind will get his body out of there. So, so true.

  20. Afquamarine says

    Shelly Miscavige quoted as re her response to the possibility of seeing her family again: ” ‘There’s only one way’ – with no further explanation”. What way would that be? I know how I’m interpreting that, and it gives me the shivers because her family would be seeing her but not vice versa.

  21. Apotheosis says

    What is always forgotten here especially by HCO staff on this thing of “blowing” or leaving staff is this datum from HCOB 31.12.1959 BLOW OFFS: …”and certainly one can treat people so badly that they have no choice but to leave,…” Now what sort of treatment do you think she has been having? It ain’t coffee and cakes and libs is it? Would an inmate of Auschwitz be accused of having overts against SS guards if he succeeded in escaping? I hope you get my point.

    • Indie8Million says

      Loud and clear, Apotheosis. What a brilliant positioning point.
      Anyone who had the audacity to accuse anyone in Auschwitz of it being “their fault” would have their tongue cut out. What a viscous and dastardly thing to say to those people. Just cruel and heartless. SO members have had a little more choice, but not much.
      But then again, if you read your history, there were so many people in the world who couldn’t believe it was happening while it was occurring. Too evil to confront. Too much guilt to face if a person could have helped them, but didn’t.
      Even now, there are strong factions who INSIST that the Holocaust never happened at all. Welcome to present time RCS and its members.

  22. says

    Random thought: Who would be a SORO (Sea Org Recruiter) these days? That’d be one tough job. It was hard enough in the “good times” of the late 70s and 80s. But now? Most long term public have a fair, if thoroughly suppressed, idea that things are badly wrong. Recruiting “wogs” is provenly unsuccessful. (A few of us tried it in the late 80s – taking empty vans up to bleak places in the North East like Sunderland and getting any unemployed youths who wanted to work to get in the van. Those few who made it through the EPF didn’t last long after that).

    So almost the only recruitment pool is ABLE sector bods like Narconon customers and/or 2nd and 3rd generation scientologists. But even there there’s a problem. Many offspring of public in the East Grinstead field went off the rails or were totally unqualified – especially the sons and daughters of “OTs”. Those that weren’t were swept up, usually by the CMO before they’d even left Greenfields School. I’ll bet anything the other main reason SuperDuperPower hasn’t been released, apart from it being a great cash cow, is that it is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE to fill the posts with qualified staff. I would love to see the Sea Org recruitment stats more than any other.

    • Jane Doe says

      Martin, I’d love to see the SO recruitment stats too. I can tell you how the SORO’s are getting new people in. They are going to Scn schools, middle school and high school, and use them as a hunting ground for SO recruits. They start as young as 13.. I have even seen them at teenage parties, in civilian clothing, “working the crowd” and my first thought was, “Wolf in sheep’s clothing.” So really they are concentrating on getting 2nd and 3rd generation Scns who have grown up with it, and also they are going to Europe and getting Russians and Romanians and all sorts of other people who see no way out of the economic situation there and think that “if I could just make it to America, all will be right.” And they get to come to America if they sign a SO Contract. But you are right that it is hard to leave later if you don’t have any credentials that are required in the American workplace: a SS number, a passport, a work permit, legal way to stay in the country etc.

      • Indie8Million says

        You know when I knew it was the end of the SO recruitment pool? First, when they got rid of the cadet org and secondly, when I started to hear that SO members were being made to have abortions. Heaven forbid we lose 2 SO members who go off for 5 or 7 years or whatever to work in a ClassV org til their kid grows up enough to attend the cadet org.
        I think the real problem there (besides Miscavige’s hatred of children and the second dynamic) is that the SO members probably weren’t coming back!!!! LOL!

  23. jeb says

    I like you Mike. But whenever an indie says of Tony Ortega, “whatever his views on scientology” I have to laugh. Tony rarely ever gives his personal views of scientology. All he does is report on Scientology. I think that the problem you and other indies have, is that he posts Hubbard in his own words that the indies would rather not hear. Some of those lectures are unbelievable, but cant be denied because we have video evidence. Am I wrong?

    • Mike Rinder says

      Yes, you are. In that you completely missed the point I was making. He can quote Hubbard all he wants. He can say nothing about Scientology works and everything contained in it is a fraud if he wants. He can dance and sing and declare himself an atheist. None of that matters. He does good reporting.

  24. Rod Keller says

    Next time you go to Clearwater, bring a picket sign: “I want to speak with my son, Benjamin Rinder.” I think there would be some odd symmetry to that. I wonder if they would serve you with that restraining order, accusing you of acting in concert with Bob Minton. If I were there, I would picket with you.

  25. Michael Hobson says

    Mr. Rinder – I don’t see how Tony Ortega can possibly know with any certainty whether he (a) actually spoke with Shelly Miscavige or (b) that she was not at figurative or literal gunpoint when he spoke with her, if he did.

    Michael A. Hobson
    Independent Scientologist

    • Jon says

      Michael, Tony Never state that he personally talked with Shelly what he wrote is an accurate well written investigative article by a professional objective journalist. Tony Ortega in my opinion always stay’s objective and thoroughly researches every article he writes.

      Why you felt it was needed to post the same writing on Tony & Mike’s sites boggles the mind.
      What purpose does it serve?
      No one has seen Shelly since 2005 or 06 that is a fact. Are just trying to somehow discredit Tony’s articles?
      Does discrediting Tony or Mike serve some unknown purpose or cause?

  26. Bonny says

    Thanks, Mike, those all ring true. With me personally part of the reason I stayed in was I didn’t want to be a woos. (wuss?) I felt like I just needed to toughen up, not let myself buy into the “being a victim” role. That concept made me tolerate a lot of things I will never tolerate again. Added to that was the policy stating you should become the solution, not part of the problem. That convinced me for a long time that I had to set aside any problems and help solve Scn’s problems from within. The other factor was my husbands strong desire to become an auditor. It was his dream and I loved (love) the man, so felt I had to stick it out for him. By the way, since we’ve been out he’s finally made it. Took him 2 years in the field compared to 25 yrs in Scn! His pc’s are winning.

    • Bob Dobbs says

      Bonny, so glad you made it, and WITH your husband. Awesome that by leaving the phony church, he was able to reach his dream goal in the field, for real!

    • says

      That’s so cool Bonny! Our experiences are all so personal, I think the important thing is to keep your code of honor in with yourself while remaining responsible to your intimates. I know when I do that, even if it’s scary, it tends to work out best. I’m so glad your hubby made his goal with some great backup. Now that’s a marriage.

  27. Formost says

    Maybe others have thoughts on this, but that is what I have concluded.

    I was never on staff, and only #3 would apply to me. Once standard tech terminals were located in the Indie Zone, that one went by the boards. And the other points were never applicable to me as I was never in any situation to be concerned with them.

    #7 … I kinda applied to IAS donations, but when I realized they had made a career of it back in the late 80’s and collections became routine every 2 weeks, well that was the end of that and no longer attended them.

  28. says

    “This question — why do people stay in the Sea Org/church even though they are abused and treated like emaciated cattle is one of the hardest things to explain to those who have not been there. ”

    Excellent question to highlight and thanks for the repost of your take on it. Another great academic resource on answering that question is the classic cult education book from Margaret Sing – Cults in Our Midst:

    Although not Scientology-specific, the examples given in this highly recommend book always ring true for former members of the Church of Scientology. You will be amazed at how prevalent some of the common coercive tactics experienced by former Sea Org members are amongst other destructive groups.

    In addition, at the time of publication Ms. Singer spoke openly of being harrassed by various cults who opposed her groundbreaking work in the field of cult education. And it was was widely rumored that Scientology examples ARE included in this book, it just isn’t specifically named due to the pressure they applied. I do not know if that true, but I have read the book 3 times and there are many parts of it that seem lifted straight from other first hand accounts of former members.

  29. Scott Campbell says

    I think you nailed the reasons why people stay pretty comprhensively, Mike. I know my biggest regret upon leaving was letting my friends down.

  30. John Doe says

    Great post.

    I would only add, or expand, on point #2. One’s fellow sea org members can become even closer than family in many ways.

    I’ve heard accounts from WW 2 marines, where it was said said the bonds they forged with their fellow marines as they stormed beaches could never be matched or quite understood by others, even their closest family members.

    While I can’t name a single sea org event that would be as harrowing as having live bullets flying about, it is my experience that many many bonds were made with fellow SO members under extremely trying circumstances.

    That most if these arduous experiences were actually abuse, and/or for stupid reasons like trying to make an unreal target, or other manufactured emergencies, does not diminish the very real effect of bonds made with my fellow sea org members.

    The feeling you are letting your friends down, by leaving, is devastating. And this is only one of the many points so clearly described above.

    • Bob Dobbs says

      Great contribution, Mr. Doe, and I’m sorry about your comrades. Hope they make it out and you are reunited.

  31. Mark says

    Well written Mike.

    One other factor comes to mind.. one that as we get more removed from the subject the less real it becomes.

    That is that if you even entertain the idea of leaving.. or looking at some other viewpoint that the one that is agreed upon, you are entering in a minimum of Sec Checks, losing your job, and months of returning back to normal by just contemplating it or voicing it. It’s like contemplating walking across an interstate freeway at full roar. It’s not an intellectual exercise.

    I think for most in the S.O. who have doubts don’t want to entertain them as they have seen the consequences of others who had the same idea. The “survival” move is to duck, cover and hold and not jeopardize what few liberties you have.

    I think you will find that most who made the jump where at the point that they were willing to risk or sacrifice all of the points that you mentioned and knew that there would be no turning back.

    I realized when I went back to “route out properly” that there would be nobody that I encountered in the Sea Org, my friends or Scn family, who were going to ally with me, or give any credence to what I wanted to do. That is quite a gauntlet to get through.

    Fortunately for me, I had already set up a safepoint with my non-Scn family and had a job set up.. so I had a point B to arrive to. Without that I might not have made it.

    Seems so unreal now.. but very real at the time.


  32. Graduated says

    I think those who are most aghast at why anyone would put up for one moment with any mental or physical abuse by a religion are looking at such circumstances purely from the viewpoint of conventional societal norms and not from an historical perspective in regard to the quest for freedom and “enlightenment”.

    I submit that those who have become deeply involved in Scientology – those who have done extensive training and application of its ethics, mental malware, learning, investigative and administrative methodologies (i.e. those who would actively pursue a staff career) – are SEEKERS, and have been seeking enlightenment and freedom for a very long, long time. (Of course there there is also the occasional sociopath who get involved so as to gain an upper hand on others, but we already know why they stay in the RCS culture.)

    As such, the voluntary relinquishment of personal liberties, physical comforts and affectations of personal identity/individuality; reverence and respect for group authority, hierarchy, ritual and symbology; and even physical and emotional abuse (read “discipline”) can easily be considered to be par for the course. As a staff member, you don’t have to wear a hair shirt or a burlap sack or bland or hooded robes or engage in actual self-flagellation. You don’t have to shave your head, become a vegetarian or take a vow of celibacy. You don’t have to take up a begging bowl, renounce all physical possession and sensations and lead an ascetic lifestyle to the point of physical anorexic emaciation, etc.

    And even with respect to the paramilitary culture, at least one is not sleeping in muddy trenches strewn with the rotting corpses of one’s comrades or enduring machine gun fire or Howitzer barrage or roasting rats when the K-rations run out – all in the cause of liberty.

    What Man has endured in the age-old quest for enlightenment and in the cause of liberty could be viewed as paling in comparison to those encountered even in the most cloistered extremes of the RCS. At least one is still, to varying degrees depending upon echelon, engaged in the real world of action and life.

    Combine that with the fact that the methodologies inherent in the SUBJECT of Scientology actually deliver in far greater abundance than any path previously undertaken and the cognitive dissonance between the subject and the perverse culture that has captured it becomes understandable. The incredible gulf between the life-changing results one has personally experienced from its methodologies and the obvious perversions and abuses that the RCS has institutionalized into its corporate culture is almost too much to fathom. Rather than simply take note of the patently obvious outpoint of CONTRARY FACTS (of which one is a falsehood) this gulf entails, the human mind INVENTS reasons to “explain” them in order to make it all make sense, unless one is well-trained in Data Series methodology.

    It’s that inability to simply confront those contrary facts and the underlying falsehood of the RCS culture without throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and the inability to get one’s loved ones to do likewise, that keep people trapped in the RCS abomination for the surface reasons delineated in this post and thread.

    So, who are the real squirrels? (rhetorical)
    [RCS= Radical Church of Scientology]

  33. says

    You left out the part about staying in the Church because of the Golden Age of Tech Phase II.

    Scientologists at Flag on GAT II report, on average, being blown 142 feet out of their heads! This is 262% greater than GAT I where Scientologists were only blown 28 feet out of their heads on average.

    Flag: Come to be blown out of your head!

  34. Chuck Beatty says


    Do you think Shelly feels obliged to LRH’s writings, and feels ultimately loyal to LRH, and feels for all her exposure, as COB Asst ASI, and all through LRH’s final years, and being then privy to everything that Sarge and Annie and Pat revealed about LRH’s final final months of life, do you think that plays in her thinking?

    To me, I put myself in her shoes, she always was a “tempering” person to DM’s harshness, but she was restrained in that she could not overly show she disapproved of anything DM did, but firsthand, when DM came set up office at ASI, in 1993, or rather ASI always had an office with 3 desks, and an additional outer office that Shelly sat in, that sort of guarded who could even walk into the bigger office at ASI (I know, as the computer guy at ASI, I daily had to ensure that all the computer equipment in the two rooms were always functioning, ready for COB’s and COB Asst’s and anyone else with them, for their use).

    Anyways, once I walked right into COB’s temp office space, and right up to him, and I fiddled with his computer very briefly, and afterwards, she was politely scolding of me, for walking up so directly into COB’s space/desk, and requested that I always first go via her rather than walk right up to COB, as he was then always on the phone to the lawyeers, this was around the summer of 1993, just leading up to the IRS “win” (which doesn’t seem like an ethical win to me now, due to LRH’s money laundering factually).

    Anyways, she was as a woman, protective of DM, and also to me she came across as somewhat capable of smoothing some ruffled feathers that he caused, but in a manner so as to not show she disapproved of any of his outbursts on people, etc.

    To me, my common mental bond I had while working near the “top people” was I presumed they took what LRH had written literally and seriously, as if they were on 100% “watch” duty for LRH, and being Commodore’s Messengers (messenger TRs in, and at ASI, I had to even to a few of the “messenger TRs”, and this attitude that one was serving LRH’s wishes, as an ASI staffer, I just always pressumed that Shelly and Dave, at least I imagined and believed truly, that they were thinking of everything they did, in terms of complying with LRH’s intentions).

    So to me, Shelly’s mental burden, is very very high.

    She to me has lived with LRH on the Apollo, she’s even MORE in the category of the older timer Commodore’s Messengers.

    She’s even more, having lived all through the ASI years, daily, with very few breaks, she was constantly at DM’s side until he stopped taking her with him, on his trips (my thoughts for why that was, is best told visually in one photo I saw, of her expression, her and Dave sitting behind Tom and I think Beckham, at a football game in Spain), and from Shelly’s expression, I think the cognitive dissonance was just too much for her.

    I’ve always thought of Shelly as dedicated to LRH first, and DM second, and I really wonder what she would say to that.

    So, keeping this brief, I think her dedication to LRH, and knowing all that LRH wrote about the archives project, and that the tech legacy is really really really real in LRH’s mind, so much so (I read the ASI long advice from LRH explicitly telling that HIS wealth go to the corporation that is CST today, once CST became legitimately non profit).

    And that CST, archiving LRH’s works into the stainless steel plates, and the archival paper books in the argon gas enclosed titanium capsules in the CST vault sites, Shelly knows LRH was very serious about that is where LRH wished his money to go!

    So, today, ASI still funnels all the profits of the license agreements, and the royalties profits, to CST, or at least that is as LRH wished those profits go.

    She to me, I even speculated when we first heard of her being “missing”, that CST would be likely her destination, only because of LRH’s timetrack of final writings, and what he considered his long term “marching orders” and Shelly being who she was, and what she did, to me, in her heart (maybe I’m being out there on this) but my guess she’s at CST as much for LRH, but publicly, for DM, she’ll say she’s there for DM.

    At CST I wonder if one of the RTC auditors is auditing Shelly.

    Does anyone know who Shelly’s auditor would be?

    Chuck Beatty

    • Aquamarine says

      Chuck, interesting speculation. Its possible that in her heart of hearts she feels far more loyalty to LRH than to David Miscavige. My opinion is that it is very likely that she has loathed her husband for some time now and would ditch him in a heartbeat if she had the nerve. But practically speaking, her own feelings, motivations, purposes are moot in that she is obviously being held here. She may want to stay for whatever reasons – for any and/or all of the insightful 7 that Mike offered along with the valid other reasons that have been posted here – she may well have it as her purpose to stay. But Shelly Miscavige’s agreement or disagreement with her situation is not the point. She is being HELD. She is not being PERMITTED to communicate. Voluntarily or not, in agreement with it or not, she is in a prison. She moved off her post, severed her comm lines, vanished from public view. The outpoint – the ELEPHANT of an outpoint, is NO COMM. That’s what upsets the hell out of people.

  35. KFrancis says

    A lot of great comments in here on Shelly’s situation but didn’t you guys get the memo about “rank”?

    I see folks all over the place pulling rank and openly discussing Shelly. Check those bars and stripes on your shoulder again because this is “ His ” wife after all-A privately owned and operated piece of chattel.

    You may have donated thousands to Super Power, Ideal Orgs, IAS and given decades of your life to the SO but that doesn’t get you the rank to communicate, that just keeps you in good standing and eligible to donate even more.

    .1. Law–An article of movable personal property.
    2. A slave

  36. Aquamarine says

    It just occurred to me that the data to Tony Ortega about Shelly Miscavige’s whereabouts could have been a causitive leak with a 2-fold purpose: 1) to diffuse the unwelcome sudden publicity about her and David Miscavige, and 2) to gauge the publics’ reaction to Tony’s expected article so as to determine what will be the Church of Scientology’s over-all PR handling of Shelly’s long disappearance.

  37. Yor Bor says

    Starting with Debbie Cook’s eye-opening e-mail that woke many Scientologists up and acknowledging what they felt all along and now this Leah Remini defection. It really suck to be Miscavige. This is building up into a gigantic s**t tsunami and it’s going to do in Miscavige. I wonder what his escape plan will be?

  38. Jen H says

    Hello Mike. I’ve never been in the RCS, but I was abused as a child by my parents in much the same way the church is currently abusing followers. For years I never understood my own fascination with hearing the stories of people who broke out of the RCS, but after breaking free of the abusive, controlling environment I was raised in, I fully realize why. I identify with six out of the seven factors you listed as to why people stay. I, along with my family (husband and son) had to disconnect from my parents, and sadly, my brother… two years ago. The abuse was too much and there was no way of maintaining a relationship without the safety of my family being violated time and time again. I can only hope Shelly can somehow break free at some point and experience the freedom of no longer being involved in such a horrible cycle of abuse of power. Thank you for having the courage to continually speak out against the RCS and be so vocal about their abuses.